We were first made aware of Teleportd after our Heureka! conference last week. Our issue – professional shots of the event would take a day to process and upload, while attendees’ Instagram snaps of the event yielded some great, instant, candid shots. We reached out to everyone via Twitter to gain permission to use.
One of the shots was Philipp Moehring of Seedcamp’s stage-eye view during his incubator session. He got in touch and told us of a Seedcamp-winning service that could revolutionise the way journalists work, by linking them to real-time image galleries from citizen photographers. This immediately caught our attention – after all, if there’s one thing journalists like, it’s anything that makes their jobs easier.
Transporting us to the action via real-time image feeds
If you think back to any pivotal news event in the last few years, the images that have become iconic are almost certainly citizen shots. From the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street to the disasters in Haiti and Tokyo, the timely convergence of smartphones and social media means that the first shots you’re likely to see are from ordinary people who happen to be at the right (or wrong) place at the right time.
Gabriel Hubert, CEO and co-founder of Paris-and-London-based service explains where they come in: “Teleportd is the ultimate real-time aggregation tool for any smartphone images. It draws from textual information such as hashtags and captions plus GPS location data from any content uploaded to Instagram, Twitter, yFrog etc and presents the results in a searchable real-time photo library. So you can instantly be transported (or Teleportd) straight to the action via a stream of real-time images.”
In fact, while we are Skyping, Hubert is able to illustrate his point exactly as a fire in the Paris Business District is documented in the app’s Event Detector. The focus swiftly switches in real-time from some scattered shots of conference-goers to pictures of billowing smoke over skyscrapers, all taken moments before.
The new “citizen licensing” rules
“We then offer a simple, three-step request for usage permissions that makes it massively simple for individuals, journalist or brands to request to use any images they find through Teleportd. Photographers can choose to license their images for free through Creative Commons License, donate a fee to charity or to opt for a fee of their choice, “ explains Frenchman Hubert, whose business partner Stanislas Poluis a long-time friend and roomate at Stanford.
“I worked as a consultant after college and Stan worked at Oracle, but we knew that we wanted to start our own project. We started on a different project but that didn’t really work out, and then we looked at the trends in photomapping and image taking. There were lots of services and images, but a lack of distribution, sifting, and licensing options.
“We spent the summer of 2011 coding and designing and this is the result. The breakthrough moment was when we realised that we could match photos to global events immediately – and then match these events to whoever wants to use them. It could be an organisation or product that wants to see how people are interacting with their brand, it could be journalists or picture desks searching for the shots of breaking news, it could be individuals who just want to catch the vibe of an event or concert.”
Hitting the sweet spot between potential and profit
Teleportd also manages to hit that all-important sweet spot between really cool consumer service and marketable business tool. Along with opening up the product to developers via APIs and web plug-ins, it will also offer business or premium accounts for organisations and news services – it’s reported that Getty have already been keeping a close eye on its development. With a first round of funding from Seedcamp, Hubert and Co are now in talks for second-stage seed funding. And with the Teleportd iOS app available to download now, and a full beta launch planned for later this year, they’re in a strong position to demo.
And given that there are five million new images uploaded every day via smartphones, Teleportd isn’t going to run out of content any time soon. Watch this (real-time) space…
Read our Seedcamp Berlin 2012 trend report
Heureka! conference – the citizen photo gallery
VIDEO – The explosive rise of Mobile Photography – Instagram and beyond